Review of “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy” by Robert Dallek

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

When it was published in 2003, Robert Dallek’s “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963” was the first full-scale, single-volume biography of JFK in over three decades. Dallek is a presidential historian and former professor of history at Boston University, Columbia University and UCLA. He is the author of nearly two-dozen books including a two-volume series on LBJ and “Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power.”

Dallek was granted almost unprecedented access to Kennedy family documents including newly-revealed information relating to JFK’s seemingly endless array of medical ailments. Dallek also convinced a former Kennedy administration press aide to release new information concerning an affair between JFK and a White House intern.

Some of this fresh primary source material underpins the book’s earliest chapters which describe Kennedy’s youth: his fascinating family lineage, his privileged childhood, his persistent medical issues and his unwavering penchant for “womanizing.” But readers seeking…

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